We miss the free shuttle to Petra. It's a late start. So, we dawdle down the hill through Wadi Musa town. There's the goats on the flat bed trucks again and shops selling live chicken. Guys casually wander out of the shop, holding wriggling chickens upside down by their feet. I suppose you can't get your meat any fresher than that. I find a place called "Made in Jordan". It's been recommended by various travel guides. I buy a camel toy, a pillowcase and mosaic fridge magnets.
We're hunting for shawarma. Of course. The restaurants on the approach to Petra are suspiciously empty. Where is everyone? The place we see with shawarma looks suspect. There's a fly buzzing around in the window. We beat it to the Visitor Centre of Petra and eat chicken maqloobah and falafel sandwiches.
I'm eating my falafel sandwich. I look up and a sign above a store advertises the "Indiana Jones Supermarket & Sweet Shop Coffee -Cold Drink Nuts - Tampons - Chocolate - Biscuits Sigarettes" I hear angels singing in the background. Tampons and pads are the Holy Grail in small Middle Eastern cities. They are legitimate selling points for the supermarket you might want to set up in Petra or Wadi Musa.
Rob is the hero of the day. He offers to secure the emergency package for me while I inconspicuously lurk across the square. He comes back, mission accomplished. He was hassled good-naturedly for buying them. The guy called his friend over and they all laughed and tickled his belly for some reason.
I choose a hat that Blossom might have worn with a big sunflower on the front. There's a pocket on the back. The guy smirks and says, "You can put anything you want in it. Money, hashish, marijuana...." Okay. We're in for the kill. Rob is entertaining a forest green, broad-brimmed hat. The guy pitches, "Very Indiana Jones." A random man a few metres across from the shop, also reclining on his head and smoking, laughs out loud and shouts mouthy Arabic across the square. He ends with "Indiana Jones" and big hoots of laughter. I imagine he says something similar to "Indiana Jones my Arabic bum!" Our shop guy is smirking, "Ignore him. He is crazy."
He wants five dinar for my hat. "Sir! I only have four," Rob says. What a scam. He flaps his wallet open. "See?" The shopguy is eagle eyed, "You've got a red there. I have change." A red note is 10 dinars. "That's for my toilet!" I say. He looks at me askance, "What?" "The ladies in there charge me to go to the toilet," I explain. He is incensed, "OH IT IS FREE. The TOILET IS FREE. You tell them not to charge you and you'll report them. IT IS FREE." He's my revolutionary leader for free bathroom facilities.
He gets his 5 dinars because he's a good guy, he didn't hassle us, and he has a sense of humour. Rob goes in for one last try, "Can I have a fridge magnet? On the house? Free?" He sighs and gestures vaguely to the mountain of made in China Jordan magnets, "Get. Get." Rob has won a small victory. They shake hands like the presidents of two warring countries who've found something in common.
Petra on the second day is more relaxed. We know what to expect, we're not stopping to take so many pictures, we've found the best approach to the hawkers and touts (a smile, a raised hand, shaking your head, no conversation), and we're carrying a lot of water. Our legs are still pretty shot from the massive 12 hours in Petra the day before but we're ascending up the many, many, many steps to the High Place of Sacrifice.
The 45 minute ascent is brutal cardio work. It's significantly shorter than the trek to the Monastery yesterday but today is hotter, the path is steeper, and we're tired. The sights are beautiful though. The sand, cliffs and rocks surrounding us are a beautiful dusky pink. Up the very top where the temple stands, the views down into the valley of Petra and out to the horizon are imposing, rocky, and different. It feels like you're along, standing at the very top of the world.
At the end of the day, our free shuttle to the hotel is nowhere in sight. We're suspicious about the conveniently placed taxi near where we sit but again, we're tired and we can get a ride in it for 2 dinars. For the last thirty minutes, we've been sitting outside a shop, hanging with the locals. There's young guys talking to us about their cars. One guy in a beat up Jeep says we should come and see him next week because his car will be way better.
We ask our taxi driver, a really pleasant guy, to stop off at a sweets shop. We're on a kanafeh hunt. Again. We're kanafeh fiends. He waits for us outside Almond Sweets, along the main road. The guys are helpful and gives us samples to try. We get a pack of biscuits for free. I'm suspicious but the guy is sweet, "You are our guests! Welcome!" he says, thrusting the packet out at me. Okay. Maybe today, Wadi Musa isn't so scammy. But I can't say my trust has been fully restored. The barriers have lowered a little. The kanafeh from Almond Sweets is the best we have ever tasted.